My Kids Grow and So Do I


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spiritual Tools Series, part 1: Seeing only the good and the lovely.

My sister’s little boy must have been about 18 months at the time. A group of us were at the airport to welcome our parents after a long trip abroad. While we were kept waiting in the arrivals hall little Randy, with a bounciness and liveliness typical of toddlers, kept going up and down a row of seats where an elderly gentleman sat crouched over. All seats around him were vacant, underlining the strong sense of not wanting to connect or communicate he seemed to project.
       I observed Randy as he would bounce past the gentleman only to stop right in front of him, bending over a little in order to catch a glimpse of the man’s eye. The old man ignored the little boy completely, looking away and not acknowledging his presence. Then off Randy would go to the other end of the row and back, only to stop smack in front of the grumpy old man again, trying to lure him into his happy, bouncy world. After the fifth or sixth time the old man finally gave in: a smile appeared, giving his wrinkled, weathered face a sudden sunny expression. He stretched out his open hand, palm up, for the little boy to smack with his little fist. Both were beaming as only victorious conspirators can. After having accomplished his objective, Randy found other interests in the arrivals hall until the moment his grandparents arrived.
I was the only one who noticed this seemingly insignificant incident and it has stayed with me through the years. Why would the experience strike me as meaningful? The reason I think the episode is etched in my memory is that it is illustrative of a specific application of the universal principle most of us have heard of before: the law of attraction, or put another way: like attracts like. Now, before you start thinking that this is old news because you know all about the law of attraction, stay with me for a bit to see how this incident shed a new light on this law. Working with the law of attraction doesn’t only mean reaping the positive results of previous positive actions; the law of attraction also works on the spot. In fact, it is especially suited to be applied on the spot.  As the example shows, when you look for only the good and the lovely – you can expect to see the good and the lovely. This principle makes for an outstanding practical spiritual tool. The following example shows how it works.

At 10 am on Saturday morning Jamie gets up and goes to the kitchen to fetch himself some breakfast. Suddenly he realizes that he’s running late for soccer practice, so he grabs his sports gear and rushes out to hitch a ride with a friend, leaving everything on the counter top. After seeing him off, his mom, Lee-Ann, enters the kitchen only to be appalled at the mess she finds there: eggs, bacon and butter still on the counter, a greasy pan and spatula lying around as well as a dirty plate and tableware. How often have I asked him to clear up after himself, she thinks to herself, as she starts to clean up. But then she thinks of the tool look for only the good and the lovely and she pauses a moment. Then she puts the perishables where they belong and she stacks the dirty dishes on the side.
Later that day when Jamie comes home, Lee-Ann asks him how soccer practice went. She comments on his continued commitment to the team and on his determination to give the best of himself (a.k.a. the good and the lovely !). While she is saying these things she walks over to the kitchen, asking him if he’d like a cold drink and a snack. Jamie follows her and sits at the table to have his drink and snack. Then Lee-Ann, still listening to Jamie talking about his soccer team and commenting positively, walks over to the corner of the counter top where the dirty dishes stand waiting. She takes them to the sink and casually says: “Please help me with this,” handing him a brush. And together they clean up, while chatting about things that matter to Jamie. Then Jamie says: “I’m sorry I left the dishes on the counter, mom, but I was really in a hurry.” “That’s all right, honey, that happens sometimes. I know you mean well, and you did clean up, didn’t you?”
Will Jamie always remember to clean up after himself after a late weekend breakfast? Probably not. But his mom’s effort to look for and focus on the good and the lovely and her stubbornness to focus on that exclusively, will bring her message across far more effectively than a reprimand would.

No matter how upsetting the situation may appear, zoom in on the good and the lovely, ignoring all testimony to the contrary. It is your addressing the good and the lovely that opens the door that lets in the light and welcomes hope, turning the tables in seemingly depressing circumstances. Whether it’s your toddler-nephew, your own teenage child, or a student in your care: apply the law of attraction on the spot by looking for and addressing the good and the lovely. You’ll discover that by doing so you’ve let in fresh air and created room for all involved to give the best of themselves. When you look for only the good, you can expect to experience it, too.


  1. inspirational story...and it works! sometimes when in doubt I ask myself: in what world do I want to live...? yes, the world of the good and the let's go for it!

  2. Great question to ask yourself! Thanks for sharing.